Saturday, January 28, 2012

over the river and through the woods to Mindy's house we go!

A part from the few doctors visits, I have not been on a real car ride in over a month—Amelia never has. So yesterday, after a few false starts and wardrobe changes, we set out to visit our friend Mindy who lives in Jericho, a half hour away.

This was a new adventure that would require getting on the interstate and then driving on several back roads in the middle of nowhere with Amelia in the back seat. Thirty minutes seemed like eternity on the way out, and I gripped the steering wheel so hard, I had white knuckles by the time we got to Mindy's house. Amelia the little angel slept the whole way.

Mindy and her mom had prepared a delicious lunch for my sister Emma, all the kids and me. Lucky for me (who has given up dairy for the time being to see if it helps with the spit-up sitch), Mindy is a vegan cook with a delicious assortment of meals in her repertoire. She made us butternut squash lasagna with a creamy bechamel sauce made from almond milk, herbs and pine nuts. It was out of this world! Mindy's mum made a warm spinach salad with mushrooms that we gobbled up. Sapphie's favorite part was the tangy shallots that had soaked up all the dressing. For dessert, we had chocolate chip protein bars, which I've started making myself at home for a healthy snack to nibble on during the day. (Here's Mindy's recipe below.)

After lunch, we sat by the fire to chat. Mindy's expecting her first baby in March and as we sat there, her baby started kicking. I felt nostalgic for my pregnant days (I loved being pregnant!). Mindy and her mom had lots of questions about what they'd need during the first few weeks. I replied: Burp cloths! Diapers! Lots of onesies. And of course, my trusty sling. I'd be lost without it. Amelia slept the entire time to make up for the night before and everybody got a chance to hold her. She slept the whole way home. Oh, and she even took her pacifier for the first time! What was I even worried about?

Here's Mindy's power bar recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Protein Bars
Yield: 24 Bars

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup almond butter

2/3 cup hemp protein powder 

¼ cup maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract

½ cup applesauce

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1. Roast the oats in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.
2. Cool oats, then combine all of the ingredients and stir well.
3. Spread the dough in a greased 9 X 13 glass dish and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool before cutting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a few things

There are a few things I'd like to jot down in history (my mother said I should be keeping a journal of these things):

Amelia turned 5 weeks yesterday.

The stars aligned and for the first time she slept a whole hour in her bassinet this morning, giving me the freedom to glide around the house in my bathrobe making coffee, pumping breast milk, feeding the cats. Oh, the luxury of it all! (Thank God for the butt pat technique handed down from my sister that really does the trick.)

She's also started smiling the last few days, but not yet on cue, so I'm not sure if it really counts.

I finally put my maternity clothes away in the basement, which felt really good, except that now I don't have any clothes that fit me. (Well, not until my online purchases arrive in the mail. I promised Col that's the last of my late-nite online shopping binges. I really neeeeeded new clothes.) Online shopping and iPhones are a godsend to newly minted breastfeeding moms.

I gave up dairy yesterday. (Oh, the horror!) See, we have a spit-upper. I mean really. And several sources suggest dairy might be the culprit. So, I'm giving up milk and Cheddar and butter and everything cow for a 2-week trial to see if it helps our little one keep down her dinner. It's not so bad. At least there's goat cheese.

Finally, Col and I celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary. Well, we didn't quite celebrate yet. He is in Utah for work, so we will have to put that off for a bit. But he did send some beautiful flowers. And my mother treated me and Amelia to an anniversary brunch at Penny-Cluse. Later she cooked us dinner and we had the family over for bangers and mash. (It's one of Col's favorite dinners—too bad he had to miss it!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

I lie to my doctor & other confessions of a new mom

Yesterday, we had our one-month appointment with the pediatrician. It went great! We've got the code figured out. By now, I'm realizing that every time we see the doctor, they tend to ask the same standard questions to make sure we're following all the right rules, and I always provide the same proper answer to confirm that yes, we are good little rule followers. See here:

Q: How's your mood?
A: Great! Things are going great!

Q: Do you always put your baby to sleep on her back?
A: Yes.

Q: Where does your baby sleep?
A: We have a bassinet in our bedroom (notice we don't ever answer this one directly)

Q: Are you giving her vitamin D drops?
A: Yes.

Q: Did you have your car seat fitted by a professional?
A: Yes


I'm not usually the lying kind of person. My guilt gets the better of me. But yesterday, I realized that I'm lying (slightly) to my doctor, because I can. And because I want to. And I don't feel guilty about it. I feel empowered! Here's what the above conversation would look like if I answered the questions honestly:

Q: How's your mood?
A: Great! We have our ups and downs... I cried to my husband this morning, but things are going great!

Q: Do you always put your baby to sleep on her back?
A: Yes. Sometimes. She really likes sleeping on her side too. We like to sleep on our sides facing each other. This morning I woke up and she was asleep with her face planted between my boobs. I checked to make sure she was breathing ok and went back to sleep.

Q: Where does your baby sleep?
A: See above. We have a bassinet in our bedroom. She likes to lay in there while I take a shower, but doesn't sleep in it. Ever.

Q: Are you giving her vitamin D drops?
A: Yes, I've given them to her once or twice. Does she really need them? Can I just stick her face in the sun for a couple of minutes?

Q: Did you have your car seat fitted by a professional?
A: Yes, my brother in law. He's a pro at that kind of stuff.

There, I've confessed. Can you imagine the wonderful conversation that might ensue with my doc if I really spoke my heart?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

proud papa

Since the arrival of our little one, most of our attention has been diverted to her. Not all of it though. The two of us, Col and I, have also developed a new sense of admiration for each other. I was worried that the lack of sleep, the frustration of not knowing what to do with a crying baby, and not much time to nurture our relationship might diminish the love that we have for each other. Not so! (Or at least, Not so fast!)

My boy is a wonderful father! And only one month in, despite my constant hovering and advice, he has found his own style of parenting and bonding. Where I have boob, he has patience. Where I have experience, he has inventiveness. When I am at wits end, he has the ability to sooth.

Amelia has established a good nursing routine, so last weekend, we decided it was time to give Papa a chance to do the feeding! While he and babe were napping my sister came over and gave me a tutorial on pumping. How glamorous. She also gave Col some pointers on bottle feeding using a teddy bear to demonstrate (what would we do without her?!).  I filled a bottle full of milk and then we waited for Amelia to wake up.

Emi advised I leave the room during the event so as not to distract baby (or Papa!). I was a little worried about that part. I'd heard introducing the bottle to a breast-fed baby could be a real challenge. But Col wasn't worried. He was excited. Of course, I knew he would figure it out one way or another. And in the end, our little piggie made the transition quite easy. She latched on right away and started happily suckling in Papa's arms. I snuck in the room only long enough to snap a photo.

Since then, of course, Amelia hasn't let me figure out a way to get a pump in edge-wise. But we're taking baby steps, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

papa papaya

Colin is working from home today, which meant we both lingered in bed a little longer this morning. He was happy to hold Amelia, while I went into the kitchen to make us coffee and breakfast. I've been ripening a papaya on the counter all week and it finally looked ready (which means it looked and smelled rotten on the outside!).

I look forward to simple kitchen rituals, which I'm quickly learning are few and far between with a newborn on my hands. I relished cutting into the stinky fruit to reveal the honey-tasting orange flesh inside. Perfect! I scooped out the black jelly seeds from the center, peeled off the mottled yellow skin,  cut up the insides into irregular little squares and tossed them into a pretty bowl. Usually I squeeze lime juice on it to bring out the flavors, but we had none in the fridge, so I used lemon juice instead. It still tasted wonderful.

Papayas always remind me of Papa Roger, my grandfather. He was master of knowing exactly how long to ripen them on the counter. Papaya prepared by Papa Roger always tasted good. Come to think of it, he was master of cantaloups too. And avocados.

I don't often buy papayas, but have started the custom of having a ripe papaya on the counter for Christmas breakfast. Just because we're with family and it's nice to honor passed loved ones when we're all together.

This year, I bought the papaya the day before I went into labor with Amelia. One week later the fruit was perfecty ripe. When we cut it up for our Christmas fruit salad, I thought to myself, that papaya has been in this house longer than our baby!

Like I said, I look forward these simple kitchen rituals. It's not really about the papaya, is it? It's about cutting into a piece of fruit, which inspires me to write these words, inspires me to remember my grandfather, inspires me to note a moment in time when our new baby was just one week old—about how long it takes for a just-okay supermarket papaya to ripen into a wonderful little morning treat with my coffee, while Papa gets his quiet time with our little daughter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

my baby hides cheese curds in her neck rolls

When people talk about "the way a baby smells" are they referring to spoiled milk? Because that's how my baby smells. Even her bath towel smells like cheese! Miss Amelia can drink anyone under the table. Problem is, she just doesn't know when to stop. She drinks and drinks and drinks until that stuff they call Liquid Gold overflows from her little mouth and dribbles down her cheeks, behind her ears, into her hair and into even the deepest crevices of her little pudgy neck.

At that point, she'll pluck her head dramatically off the watering hole, bobble her head a few times like a drunken sailor, then proceed to boink her face repeatedly into me until she finds her place again at the tap. I get such a kick out of watching the episode, that I often forget to wipe her chin (it's so difficult getting in those neck rolls anyways!). So the milk is often left there to dry and ripen into little stinky cheese curds. I wonder if there's a market for the stuff in some cultures?

For now, though, it just means Bath Time!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

finger nails

That's it. I've learned my lesson. I'm never cutting my baby's nails again. I let my guard down for a split second—for one fleeting moment, I let myself feel confident that I was getting the hang of this mothering thing. I finally found a carrier she likes, that doesn't make her scream or hunch or breathe funny. Here she was, this little angel asleep in the sling at my breast, fingers spread in gentle baby trust. And I thought to myself, "Oh perfect, I will clip her nails!" Those gnarly snaggy things have been scratching and catching on everything. I went and found the special little baby nail clippers we had bought just for her!

I sat down, opened the clippers and without much ado went straight for the thumbnail—the scratchiest of all. Just one clip and I couldn't take it back. Along with that little piece of baby fingernail, I had inadvertently snipped off a piece of my little baby's thumb. Well, ok, yes, I exaggerate! But there was blood and my little cooing babe let out a very sad drawn out cry.

I suddenly felt the instinctual need to hold her so tight and tell her Mama was sorry and would never do it again. She had already moved on and was back asleep at the boob moments later.

But not me. I will never do that again. Colin will have to do it. Or we will let them grow long until they curl around her fingers.

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